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NASA Sonoma Raceway September 10/11th

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  • NASA Sonoma Raceway September 10/11th

    I signed up for both days. Anyone else going? Link here:

    https://nasaproracing.com/events/2276

  • #2
    Hi Michael,
    Sonoma Raceway is the one California track I have not driven, and I'd really like to try it. Maybe you'll remember the troubles I was having with our Seven's failed clutch and my subsequent Fidanza flywheel upgrade with Clutch Masters clutch assembly. I finally have everything together and back in the chassis including fixing some side issues like bellhousing interference with the new flywheel, and sourcing a new starter. I've also installed all new hoses and a new and smaller diameter clutch master cylinder. With everything finally in, I hooked up the battery (Odyssey PC 625) only to find out the battery was stone dead! A subdued click was about all it was good for. I took the battery to O'Reilly's where they charged and tested it - Verdict: DOA. So a new battery is on order. Hopefully new 12 volt power will bring our Seven back to life!

    So to answer your question; no I won't be attending your Sonoma event this coming weekend, but it's much more likely that I'll be anxiously planning to make the drive north to join you at Sonoma for a NASA event next season. In the meantime and assuming my car is running soon, I'm planning to attend the AROSC school at the Streets in November. It will be good to get back on a track again.

    Best wishes,
    Clark

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    • #3
      Per the Odyssey battery website the fastest way to ruin your battery is to leave it in a low state of charge. If it gets a deep discharge, be sure to charge at a minimum of 6 amps. A trickle charger will not recharge a dead AGM battery correctly. If fully charged and not being used, keep it on a trickle charger.

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      • #4
        Hi,
        It's hard to say what state of charge my Odyssey battery was in when I first tried to start the car; a voltmeter only showed 9 volts. While my Seven has been up on blocks, I've regularly put a 4-amp charger on the battery to keep it charged. For awhile that seemed to keep the battery charged, and then one time recently when I hooked up the charger, the amp meter only showed 1-1/2 amps rather than the usual 4. Something happened?? I took the battery to O'Reilly's to charge and test. They charged the battery for about two hours and then did a load test. It didn't put out much. Maybe my battery developed an internal short or something. Testing voltage with a voltmeter still only shows about 8 or 9 volts.

        I went ahead and ordered a new Odyssey battery, and it should be here soon. I hope to be up and running soon, and will keep you updated.

        Best wishes,
        Clark

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        • #5
          How old was the battery?

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          • #6
            The battery was approximately two years old. I purchased it in October of 2014.
            Clark

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            • #7
              It lives! The new Odyssey PC 625 battery supplied the power that turned over the Zetec so it could start. What a sweet sound!

              Now it's just a matter of putting the rest of the car back together and making a few adjustments - and we should be back on the road soon.

              I'd like to thank Jon Nelson, Bruce Beachman, and the guys at Clutch Masters for providing technical advice and supplying parts, and to Doug Liedblad for sharing his experience with a similar Fidanza aluminum flywheel upgrade. It took every bit of this help and more to make this upgrade a success!

              Best wishes,
              Clark

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              • #8
                Hey Clark, you hijacked my thread. Getting back to the subject at hand, yes, I had a great time at Sonoma thanks for asking. I came home with a list of gremlins to chase down including:
                - Steering column bushings appear to be worn out as there is quite a bit of play in the area where the upper and lower columns are joined. The join itself is solid. From blatchat it appears that replacing these is not difficult or expensive but Caterham UK says "no longer in stock".
                - Uprated aluminum radiator is leaking. I can see a small pressure leak in the area of the cooling fins.
                - At idle there is a nasty rattle in the bell housing area. It goes away when I bring the revs up to a fast idle and/or when I disengage the clutch. There is no performance issue with the gearbox or clutch.
                - My engine cut out in the middle of a session. I coasted to a stop then it fired up again and ran fine for the rest of the day. First time the car has failed me in 10 years. I removed and checked the main ground wire (engine to chassis) and ECU to engine ground and they seemed good. If i had a clue how to use the pectel software I might be able to find an error code...?

                Glad to hear your car is back on the road. As for batteries, I have had several Odyssey PC680s and they have been flawless. Six months in the car without a charger (but with the cutoff switch turned off) and they fire right up. Love 'em. Buy with confidence.
                Last edited by Michael Murphy; September 12, 2016, 08:59 PM.

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                • #9
                  Hi Michael,

                  Sorry for highjacking your forum thread. It seemed kind of lonesome! I'm glad you had some good sessions at Sonoma. I really want to get up north and try it sometime. Can you still instruct for NASA?

                  My aluminum radiator also leaks where the coolant tubes enter the side tanks. The leaks are very slow and I hardly ever notice a drop in the coolant level. Doug recommends Barr's Stop-Leak. I had a half-bottle of that in my coolant before the clutch fiasco, but it didn't completely stop the leak. Most of the time I smell coolant when I first start driving and then the smell goes away. Right now I just have water for coolant. I wanted to make sure everything was working before I put the real stuff in. Also, sorry but I can't be much help with your ECU. My Zetec is still about as stock as it can be in a Seven. The ECU workings are purely magic.

                  You might want to contact Jon Nelson for your steering column bushings. His old email address is still good and he has a fairly comprehensive inventory of parts. Superformance was supposed to buy up his inventory, but never came up with the cash, so Jon still has his stuff from Caterham USA. By the way, Jon says that Caterham pulled the US distributorship away from Superformance. I guess they couldn't sell the number cars that Caterham's management required. Their quota was 100 cars per year. Even with our friend Mr. Sours onboard, that would be a stretch!

                  I'm not quite back on the road yet. I had to remove the seats and tunnel cover to do the drivetrain R&R, so Sunday after getting the engine running, I began cleaning a year and a half's accumulation of dirt and grime from the interior, and applying a good feeding of Lexol to the leather bits. Next weekend I should be able to get everything finished. Among other things, I had Crow re-web the harnesses, since the old ones had expired the AROSC five year limit. It'll almost be like a new car!

                  Best wishes,
                  Clark

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Michael Murphy View Post
                    ........ but Caterham UK says "no longer in stock". DID YOU CALL THEM? I have heard the website is behind the times.
                    - Uprated aluminum radiator is leaking. I can see a small pressure leak in the area of the cooling fins. USE BARS LEAK Aluminum. Car makers put it in NEW cars with Ali Radiators.
                    - At idle there is a nasty rattle in the bell housing area. It goes away when I bring the revs up to a fast idle and/or when I disengage the clutch. There is no performance issue with the gearbox or clutch.
                    - My engine cut out in the middle of a session. I coasted to a stop then it fired up again and ran fine for the rest of the day. First time the car has failed me in 10 years. I removed and checked the main ground wire (engine to chassis) and ECU to engine ground and they seemed good. If i had a clue how to use the pectel software I might be able to find an error code...? I am not sure they will have error codes for that. CHECK the fuel pump cutoff switch if you have one.

                    Glad to hear your car is back on the road. As for batteries, I have had several Odyssey PC680s and they have been flawless. Six months in the car without a charger (but with the cutoff switch turned off) and they fire right up. Love 'em. Buy with confidence.
                    See my answers in BOLD above

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Well, if it's not one thing, it's another. I took a longer drive in our Seven this weekend than just around the block and discovered my re-built transmission (T-9) won't engage 5th gear. Looks like another engine and trans pull.

                      I remember Danny Sullivan exclaiming, after narrowly missing yet, another win in Can-Am - "What does it take?" This clutch repair has been one hurdle after another. I know how he felt.
                      Clark

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